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Kitchener: ‘It is up to us to deliver’

The Leicester Tigers squad is desperate to deliver consistent performances in the last two rounds of the season, according to lock forward Graham Kitchener.

The second-rower pointed to positives from Tigers’ last three Gallagher Premiership games – against Exeter, Newcastle and Bristol – as evidence of what the players are capable of, though assured the side must deliver two full 80-minute displays in the final fixtures of 2018/19.

“We’re after consistency of performance,” the 29-year-old explained. “Newcastle wasn’t a perfect performance, but there were really good pictures for us – as there were against Exeter at home and Bristol – and it’s about making sure that we stay in our system.

“We trust that because we’ve got a really good system that has been put in place by the coaches, and it’s up to us to deliver that consistently.”

“We can expect a battle across all aspects of the game.”

Graham Kitchener

Kitchener’s side travel to the Twickenham Stoop for their Round 21 match against Harlequins this Friday, May 3 (7.45pm) after a 35-24 victory to Tigers in the reverse fixture in December.

But the Leicester lock added that Harlequins head of rugby – and former Tigers back-rower – Paul Gustard will have tightened up the Londoners’ defence following the free-flowing affair at Welford Road.

He continued: “With Paul Gustard in charge, their defence has obviously improved a lot, but they’ve got threats across [the field].

“That’s traditionally the way that Quins have always played, and they haven’t really lost that, but they seem to have tightened up on their defensive structures.

“Their set-piece has been good this season as well, especially their scrum, so we can expect a battle across all aspects of the game.

“Our mentality is that we’re going down to Quins to win, and making sure that we’re putting the things right that we let slip on Saturday.”

The Tigers side will also have a six-day turnaround to contend with, though Kitchener was quick to shut down any talk of the cut in preparation having a negative effect on the playing staff.

“A short turnaround obviously present a slightly different challenge to the norm, but we’re looked after and managed really well,” he explained.

“When you’re playing 20, 25 games in a season it’s a case of making sure that you get the right stuff done in the week, but also the balance of making sure that you can run around for 80 minutes on Friday.

“While it’s an extra strain on the body…we’ve got an excellent strength and conditioning department and an excellent medical department in making sure that we are fresh.”